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Top Fishing Charters in Los Angeles

Fishing in Los Angeles

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture the City of Angels, but you will find endless possibilities while fishing in Los Angeles, California. Known for everything that is urban, LA happens to boast a variety of fishing lakes and access to some of the state’s best offshore fishing. Here, you can reel in a Largemouth Bass one day and Yellowfin Tuna the next, practically without changing zip codes.

Known For

Whether you are a freshwater fly fisherman or an avid deep sea angler, you are sure to enjoy fishing in LA. Depending on the season, you can catch a variety of game fish in local waters, including Calico Bass, White Seabass, various Rockfish, Pacific Barracuda, Halibut, and Yellowtail Amberjack. Fishing for these species might take you anywhere from the coast of southern California to Santa Catalina and San Clemente Island.

Those who know anything about Los Angeles sportfishing can tell you that the icing on the cake is offshore big game fishing. When the season is right, you can target migratory pelagics such as Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Marlin.

There are plenty of Los Angeles fishing charters which allow you to get a taste of everything swimming between the beach and 60 miles offshore.

On the other hand, a variety of rivers and fishing lakes present opportunities for even the busiest of LA’s anglers. You can catch Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Catfish, and more without straying far from downtown.

Fishing Spots

Santa Monica Bay

Santa Monica Bay is the northernmost location for deep sea fishing in Los Angeles. Reefs and other structures make these waters ideal for some excellent bottom fishing. You can fish year-round for Calico Bass, Sand Bass, Bonito, and various types of Rockfish (Lingcod, Sheephead, Sculpin, Vermillion Rockfish). When in season, You can also catch Halibut, Barracuda, and Yellowtail Amberjack. Palos Verde Peninsula at the south end of the bay is known for hosting larger game fish such as White Seabass and Yellowtail.

Many fishing trips in Santa Monica Bay depart from Marina del Rey, where you can book a private charter or hop aboard an open party boat. A half day trip for five to six hours costs around $800 minimum. You can find tickets aboard a party boat for $45 per person. For a ¾ day trip (8-10 hours), you can expect to pay close to $1,200, or $60 for an open boat trip. A full day Marina del Rey fishing charter could last up to 12 hours. These trips range from $1,400-$1,700 and sometimes take you out to Santa Catalina Island where you can target the same species.

Long Beach

You can spend your time in Long Beach fishing the Palos Verde Peninsula to the north or Horseshoe Kelp and the Huntington Flats to the south. Horseshoe Kelp once hosted a thriving kelp bed, and you will still find a wide variety of game fish swimming there year round. Summer is a great time to catch everything from Yellowtail, Sheephead, and White Seabass to Barracuda.

If you venture a little further down the coast, you will reach the Huntington Flats, a popular destination for many fishing charters in the LA area. Located near Huntington Beach, these shallow waters also host great fishing year round. Sand Bass and Barracuda reach their peak in summer, whereas you will find more Halibut in winter.

Long Beach fishing charters vary widely in price. For a private charter, you might pay anywhere from $500-$1,200 for a full day trip. Half day trips range from $300-$800. You can find open boat fishing trips in Long Beach for less than $100 per person. Half day and ¾ day trips range from $40-60 per person, while a full day trip costs around $90.

Santa Catalina Island

Located roughly 25 miles from the coast, Catalina Island is a popular destination for many Los Angeles fishing charters. Spanning 22 miles in length, this spit of land is home to some spectacular game fishing. This is where Yellowfin Tuna fishing first gained popularity, and some consider Catalina to be the birthplace of big game fishing as we know it.

You can spend your time at Catalina Island fishing nearby rocks and reefs for many species, including California Sheephead, White Seabass, Calico Bass, Sand Bass, Lingcod, Barracuda, and Yellowtail. Less than 34 miles beyond Catalina Island lies San Clemente Island, the southernmost of California’s Channel Islands. Bottom fishing here will produce all the same species.

Both islands are surrounded by deep waters, giving you a chance to land some of LA’s biggest prizes such as Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and even Blue Marlin. Summer is the best time to get the most out of this deep sea fishing experience.

Catalina Island fishing charters are easy to find in any city along the coast of southern California. Most trips to the island last a full day (12 hours). Prices range from $700 to well over $2,000, depending on the point of departure and various factors such as the quality of the boat and tackle.

Offshore Fishing

For the ultimate game fishing experience in Los Angeles, try fishing the open waters up to 60 miles offshore. This gives you a chance to catch trophies like Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefin Tuna, Albacore Tuna, Yellowtail Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, and a variety of large Sharks. The height of offshore fishing runs from early summer through fall.

Offshore fishing trips near Los Angeles cost between $900 and $2,000. Some charter operators run overnight and multi-day offshore trips for roughly $1,600 per day. An overnight trip gives you time to target species that typically stay farthest from shore, such as Albacore Tuna. 

In late summer and fall you can target Yellowfin Tuna along the Catalina Channel, a stretch of water between Catalina Island and the coast of Los Angeles. It is possible to catch these species during a full day trip.

Pier Fishing

City life keeps you busy, and sometimes anglers need a chance to wet their lines without committing to a full day at sea. For this reason, many saltwater anglers enjoy pier fishing in Los Angeles. Popular fishing spots include Dockweiler State Park near LAX, the Redondo Beach Fishing Pier, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Venice Fishing Pier.

While casting lines off the end of a pier you might catch anything from Mackerel, Perch, and Sargo to Barracuda, Halibut, Yellowtail, and Sharks. Choose the Redondo Beach Fishing Pier for some of the best Halibut fishing in the state.

Freshwater Fishing

The well stocked lakes of Los Angeles may just be this city’s best kept secret. Visiting anglers can delight in a number of local freshwater fishing spots for a taste of “urban fishing” without traveling far to find them. 

You can fish the Los Angeles River and many other streams in the area for Tilapia, Carp, Panfish, Suckers, and Bass. The Angeles Crest National Forest and Los Padres National Forest are home to a number of creeks where you can fish for Trout.

A number of fishing lakes in Los Angeles give you the chance to catch Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Crappie, Catfish, and Carp. The two lakes closest to downtown LA are Echo Lake and Hollenbeck Park Lake. These watering holes are perfect for the angler in need of a brief getaway after a full day at work. Both are well stocked with Rainbow Trout in colder months and Catfish in warmer months.

Other popular locations for lake fishing near Los Angeles include Legg Lake, Irvine Lake, and Lincoln Lake.

Rules and Regulations

Anglers age 16 and older are required to have a sport fishing license for all recreational fishing in California. Most Los Angeles fishing charters do not include a fishing license for customers. Visitors can purchase a 1-day license for $15.12 or a two-day license for $23.50, available online through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Anglers fishing from a public pier for recreational purposes are not required to have a fishing license. However, all other regulations regarding seasons, size, and bag limit still apply.

Some fish species are highly regulated in California. Rockfish species are only open to harvest during certain periods. While some seasons are closed to boat-based anglers, they may remain open to shore-based anglers. Always refer to local regulations ahead of time.

Fishing Techniques

While fishing the rocks and reefs along the coast of LA and nearby islands, most anglers rely on bottom fishing and fly lining. Fly line fishing is a local method of live bait fishing with a hook and no weight. This allows the bait (anchovies, sardines) to swim freely. This tactic might help you land Yellowtail, White Seabass, Calico Bass, Bonito, Barracuda, and more. 

Deep sea fishing off the coast of LA involves bottom fishing and trolling for a variety of game fish. You can scour the depths for White Seabass, Calico Bass, Sand Bass, Rockfish, and Halibut by bottom fishing or fly lining live bait. Squid is preferable bait for White Seabass and early Yellowtail. You can catch summer Yellowtail with live bait, artificial jigs, or iron jigs.

For Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, and other pelagics, you can troll with live bait, cut bait, or artificial bait. Sardines and anchovies are recommended as bait for Tuna. Some anglers attract Tuna by trolling and then chum for them.

Los Angeles
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Los Angeles Fishing Seasons

The season for Rockfish closes at the start of the year, but you can still catch White Seabass, Halibut, and more. With an average temperature of 55°F, it’s not a bad time to be on the water!

In winter you can enjoy relatively good fishing for certain species near Catalina Island. Calico Bass, Blue Perch, and White Seabass are all biting. You may be able to entice early Yellowtail using live squid.

March is when the season for various kinds of Rockfish opens, including Sheephead, Lingcod, and Cabezon. You can add these species to your list while fishing nearshore rocks and reefs.

In spring you will start to see more Calico Bass and Barracuda than in previous months. Larger Yellowtail are on the scene, and the fishing near Catalina Island is picking up momentum.

May is a great time for bottom fishing anywhere between the coast of LA and the islands. Rockfish, Halibut, Seabass, and Barracuda are just a few of the species you can catch while fishing here.

Summer is a great time to fish along the coast, with species such as Yellowtail Amberjack and Tuna swimming closer to shore. As always, you can enjoy great bottom fishing near the reefs, as well. 

Everything is fair game in summer. You might catch a variety of Tuna while fishing offshore, or Marlin near the coast of Catalina Island. You may even reel in a Mahi Mahi around this time of year.

You can continue to revel in deep sea fishing’s peak season. You might catch Marlin, Mahi Mahi, and Tuna, depending on where you fish. Or hit the reefs and score some Rockfish and Bass. 

You will continue to see Yellowtail and some Tuna in the Catalina Channel through autumn. You can enjoy reaping the last of summer’s rewards as the temperature hovers around 70°F.

Many of summer’s pelagic species might start to disappear at this time of year, but you can still count on Barracuda, Yellowtail, White Seabass, Halibut, and more. You may even land a Tuna here and there.

The season for catching a pelagic prize may be over, but you can continue to enjoy excellent fishing for Halibut, Rockfish, White Seabass, and Barracuda.

Even in December, you can count on pleasant weather in LA. Barracuda, White Seabass, and Halibut are all biting. The season for Rockfish species will be open until the end of the month.

Los Angeles Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Los Angeles

"The afternoon with captain Andy "

Richard S. fished with Think Big Fishing on April 5, 2018

Be prepared to search for fish, they won’t just come to yah.

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